There’s no better place to explore the rich history and heritage of Birmingham city than the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
The museum houses elegant Pre Raphaelite paintings and various other fine art and applied art treasures that will get your heart racing!
So, here’s everything you need to know before you visit the museum.
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This Article Contains:
- Things To Know Before Visiting The Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery
- Renowned Collections To View At The Museum
- History Of The Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery
- What Are The Upcoming Events At The Birmingham Museum?
- Why Did The Birmingham Museum Close And When Will It Reopen?
Things To Know Before Visiting The Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery
Here’s everything you should know before you visit the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery (BMAG):
1. Where is the Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery located?
The museum is situated in the Birmingham city centre, right beside the Jewellery Quarter. It’s within walking distance of Colmore Row – Birmingham’s most prestigious business address.
You can either enter the museum from the main entrance on Chamberlain Square or through the Edmund Street or Great Charles Street entrance.
Address: Chamberlain Square, Birmingham B3 3DH, United Kingdom
2. How To Reach The Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery
Here are a few ways to get to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery:
- By Bicycle: You can take the segregated cycle routes from Selly Oak (along A38) and Perry Barr (along A34) into the city centre. For parking, there are bike racks underneath the bridge to the left of the Chamberlain Square entrance.
- By Car: You can take the M6, M5, or M42 West Midland motorway. The museum is just minutes from Bullring & Grand Central in the Birmingham city centre. For parking, the closest pay parks are the Margaret Street parking and Town Hall car park – five-minute walks from the museum.
- By Bus: The National Express West Midlands buses you can take, like bus numbers 9, X10, 82, 87, and 89. The closest bus stops are within the city centre, including New Street, Snow Hill, Art Gallery (stop Es1), and Great Charles Street (stop Nh1).
- By Metro: The closest West Midland Metro tram stop is Grand Central – a six-minute walk from the museum.
- By Rail: You can take Avanti West Coast, CrossCountry, and West Midlands Railway trains to reach the museum. The nearest train stations are Snow Hill and New Street, which are less than a 10-minute walk from the museum.
(Now, if you’re planning your itinerary from London, find out how far Birmingham is from London.)
The Birmingham museum is open seven days a week from 10 am – 5 pm from 28 April 2022.
4. Contact Details
For general inquiries, call +44 121 348 8000 or email email@example.com. For ticket sales, call +44 121 348 8263. The museum’s phone lines are open Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.
5. Admission Cost
Admission to BMAG is FREE. However, special events may require advanced bookings and paid tickets.
6. Accessibility And Facilities
The museum is accessible to everyone. Its facilities include:
- A lift entrance through the Gas Hall Entrance on Edmund Street for persons with mobility difficulties.
- Blue Badge parking (for any visitor with mobility problems) on Margaret Street and Edmund Street, near the lift entrance.
- Entry for guide and assistance animals. The Edwardian tearooms also provide free drinking bowls.
- It offers guided tours and access to linguists who can translate around 150 languages.
- Accessible toilets, plus baby changing facilities.
What should a visitor look forward to during a tour?
Renowned Collections To View At The Museum
There’s a wealth of collections to view during your Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery visit, covering display art (fine art), applied art, social history, and more.
You could start with the impressive exhibition of Pre Raphaelite paintings, spanning artworks like:
- Morgan le Fay and Medea by Frederick Sandys
- Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
- The Last of England by Ford Madox Brown
In fact, the Birmingham Art Gallery has the largest public Pre Raphaelite collection, with over 2000 pieces, including oil paintings, tapestries, and ceramics.
Then, you could explore the antique collection of coins, earthenware, mediaeval materials, ancient figurines, and African masks on display in the gallery. Also, check out the Staffordshire Hoard – the largest hoard of Anglo Saxon gold.
The museum has insightful pieces on social history, featuring displays like “Birmingham, Its People, Its History” (also called the Birmingham History Galleries). These Birmingham History Collections are prominently displayed on the third floor.
And when you’re done, enjoy delicious food in the award-winning Edwardian tea room.
Fun Fact: Fine arts refer to artistic display art that lacks a practical purpose, like paintings and sculptures. And applied arts combine design with a practical purpose, like fabric design or ceramics.
Read on to know more about the history of the museum.
History Of The Birmingham Museum And Art Gallery
The Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery was first opened in 1885 – managed by the Birmingham City Council.
In 1900, its collection was deemed by the Magazine of Art as “one of the finest and handsomest” in Britain.
However, by 2010, budget cuts and transfers had seen some museum sections close, like the Waterhall on Edmund Street.
Then in 2012, the management of the museum was transferred to the Birmingham Museums Trust and renewed to its former glory. And in 2016, the Art Gallery was one of just six galleries to host the Van Dyck Self Portrait – when the National Portrait Gallery had put the painting on a United Kingdom tour.
Note: Helmed by co-CEOs Sara Wajid MBE and Zak Mensah, the Birmingham Museums Trust manages several extraordinary venues owned by the Birmingham City Council. These historic venues include the Birmingham Art Gallery, Aston Hall, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, and more.
Now, let’s look at the live events coming up once the museum reopens.
What Are The Upcoming Events At The Birmingham Museum?
Here are some of the upcoming Birmingham 2022 Festival events at the museum
- “Blacklash: Racism and the Struggle for Self-Defence” will explore how novelist and activist Ambalavaner Sivanandan perceives ‘racism that kills and racism that discriminates’. The project is created in partnership with Kalaboration Arts.
Date: 28 April 2022 – 30 October 2022.
- “In The Que: Celebrating the Que Club” is a celebration of the historic music venue. The exhibition is developed and curated in partnership with the Birmingham Music Archive.
Date: 28 April 2022 – 30 October 2022.
- “We Are Birmingham” is a part of the Birmingham History Collections, celebrating the city and people of 21st century Birmingham. This exhibition is curated in partnership with Beatfreeks.
Date: 28 April 2022 – 30 October 2022.
Additionally, the museum’s diverse exhibition programme ensures that there are a series of changing exhibitions. You can discover the upcoming fine arts installations and live events on the museum’s What’s On page.
Fun Fact: The Round Room and Industrial Gallery will be transformed and taken over for the Birmingham 2022 Festival Commonwealth Games. It’ll be animated by the Birmingham Music Archive, Kalaboration Arts, and other creative organisations.
So, when should you visit the museum?
Why Did The Birmingham Museum Close And When Will It Reopen?
The museum had initially closed in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and then remained closed through 2021 to complete essential electrical upgrades.
But the good news is that BRAM is partially reopening on 28 April 2022. The sectors reopening include the Round Room, Edwardian tearooms, Industrial Gallery, Bridge Gallery, Gallery 10, and the Shop.
It will close again in December 2022. So, make the most of this chance to visit the museum during your trip to Birmingham city.
Lastly, if you enjoyed the Edwardian tea room and want to explore other Edwardian attractions, check out the Winterbourne House and Lapworth Museum in Edgbaston.